Why are we here, if not for each other?
“Provisions for others is a fundamental responsibility of human life.”
During the 10 weeks of recovery from foot surgery, my sense of self began to morph. I was challenging my identity on an hourly basis, trying to figure out whether a deeper purpose for my life lied in that period of immobility and dependence on my loved ones. Questions continued to mount… Why haven’t I been writing? How can I make myself useful? How can I avoid being a burden? What do I without my dream job???
Even with being fully aware that I hadn’t lost my job, I certainly felt unemployed since so much off my day pre-foot surgery revolved around “being a public defender”. So as I laid in bed with my feet elevated, heavily sedated on pain killers, my persistent question became… “who am I”? I hated being the person who needed help showering, help eating, so on and so forth. I am forever grateful for the loved ones who not only came to babysit me, but who brought me books to read, novelty food to eat, movies to watch and the like. I even got a visit from my favorite chihuahua Minnie! My significant other carried the burden of my daily care and I was certain it would forever change the way he looked at me. How could I ever be desirable to this guy if I can’t even shave my own legs? Surely he wants to hang out with someone who can go work out with him, someone who can style her hair, someone who can dress up and go on a date. No matter how short the recovery was, it felt like eternity during those 10 weeks because my full time job and the essence of my existence was “lay still and heal”. It was horrible. Certain low days, I was certain I was going to end up single after I was all better. Lucky for me, my significant other is a nurturer who hadn’t suffered temporary-selective-amnesia like I did. He has a big heart and he insisted he was having a ball hanging out in the house with me while I drooled and slipped in and out of consciousness (yes, I was that sedated… and yes, I picked a winner)
My best friend was another one who made me question my purpose and identity with her care. If you follow my tweets, you may know that my best friend is expecting her first child. I am completely ECSTATIC of this baby’s arrival! And considering how children usually freak me out, my warmth towards this precious baby has me in a fit of paranoia and panic. I don’t want my best friend walking or working. If it were up to me, I would have her rolling around in a motorized bed, being fed grapes all day long. She would be absolved of all work assignments and chores. But I don’t have my way. As much as it pained me, when I spent one weekend with her right after my second procedure, I had to rely on her to bathe, eat, dress, etc… I was devastated. I wished I had never had the surgery & simply let my feet deteriorate slowly. I cried. I tried to avoid eating so she wouldn’t have to tend to me. None of these things worked. My best friend took the best care of me and kept me smiling despite my efforts to be miserable! She humbled me with the command that I absolutely had to let her take care of me. We’ve been friends half our life. Why was relying on loved ones so hard for me?
This entire experience helped me realize that my independence as an adult is by no means compromised by interdependence among loved ones. I know the role I play in the lives of others, readily cherishing the responsibilities I have with respect to different loved ones. So why did it make me so uncomfortable to be dependent on the people I would lay my life down for? Why did I want to be the “always healthy, always paid, never needing anything from my loved ones” lady? Why was I convinced I was somehow promoting patriarchy just by accepting care and support from my significant other? Why did I think that my best friend, a woman who has been in my life 14 years, would want to abandon our friendship the moment I needed her help? The answer? I needed a lesson on humility. I needed a lesson on overcoming insecurity. I needed a lesson on giving up control over others. I needed a lesson to battle self-worship. Where did I get the absurd notion that I could be a provider to others, yet never be provided for? I needed a lesson to get over my God Complex. I am not God. I am not here for my own personal satisfaction, nor the gratification and satisfaction of others. But I am here for those in my life and they are here for me. Why else would I be here if not for my neighbor? We are here for each other. Remember this…